Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

Tigray Crisis in Ethiopia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tigray Crisis

Mains level : Not Much

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), described the Tigray crisis region as the “worst humanitarian disaster on earth”.

What is the news?

  • Ethiopia has been on the brink of a civil war.
  • On Nov 4 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war on the country’s Tigray region.
  • The Tigray region is ruled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
  • The war was declared in response to the TPLF’s attack on a federal military base in Tigray.

Tigray Crisis: A backgrounder

  • The animosity between Tigrayans and Eritrea goes back to the Ethiopian-Eritrean war that occurred between 1998 and 2000.
  • It occurred approximately two decades ago was extremely brutal and resulted in the deaths of thousands of soldiers.
  • The roots of this crisis can be traced to Ethiopia’s system of government. Since 1994, Ethiopia has had a federal system in which different ethnic groups control the affairs of 10 regions.
  • The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – was influential in setting up this system.
  • It was the leader of a four-party coalition that governed Ethiopia from 1991, when a military regime was ousted from power.
  • Under the coalition, Ethiopia became more prosperous and stable, but concerns were routinely raised about human rights and the level of democracy.

How did it escalate into a crisis?

  • Eventually, discontent morphed into protest, leading to a government reshuffle that saw Mr Abiy appointed PM.
  • Abiy liberalized politics, set up a new party (the Prosperity Party), and removed key Tigrayan government leaders accused of corruption and repression.
  • Meanwhile, Abiy ended a long-standing territorial dispute with neighbouring Eritrea, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
  • These moves won Abiy popular acclaim, but caused unease among critics in Tigray.
  • Tigray’s leaders see Abiy’s reforms as an attempt to centralize power and destroy Ethiopia’s federal system.

How bad is the humanitarian situation?

  • Tigray and its neighbouring regions are facing starvation.
  • There is an absence of medical facilities, no access to their own money due to shut-down banking services, ethnic and physical violence, and raids at the hands of warring forces.
  • The government declared a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds but in an effort to break the TPLF in June last year, imposed a blockade on Tigray.
  • This made it impossible to deliver humanitarian, economic, and medical assistance to Tigrayans.

Also read:

[Burning Issue] Ethiopian Crisis and the Geopolitics

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